Vocate Blog

How to Use Your Holiday Breaks

How to Use Holiday Breaks to Your Advantage (and maybe even have some fun)

So Turkey time is on the way and you’re starting to queue up a holiday wish list. Obviously, you’re excited for vacation. We encourage you to think of the time as something you can use constructively and still have a lot of fun. Is that even possible? Of course.

One of the biggest problems for undergrads is that employers see you as virtually all the same. This makes it extremely difficult to differentiate yourselves from your ‘competition’ unless you have some insane GPA, are Captain of the Football team, or something else that 90% of people can’t claim (I couldn’t). Even if you can land the interview, one of the biggest pieces of feedback we get from employers is that students are boring in interviews (even if you are normally interesting, don’t dismiss this off hand, what employers see as interesting may not be the same as what your peers see as interesting).

What many undergrads may not yet realize is that by doing interesting things, you gain real life experiences that can be great talking points with employers. It signals that you’re dynamic and a do-er. More importantly, you may actually meet people or have experiences that help you figure out what you want to do (the most important part).

So, if you’ve been thinking about wanting to ‘go abroad,’ do it. But, find a program where you can volunteer and experience something. Don’t just go to Amsterdam and visit the coffee houses. I worked for the US Embassy in Paris and got to do cool stuff like be a VIP at the Paris Air Show.

If you’re angry about the election, go volunteer for your local congressman. I had one of the most meaningful experiences of my life living in a small town campaign. Get involved with a charity, try out something you’ve always wanted to do. Lastly, you can always find a local startup, which we promise is not hard to do (and Vocate can help).  That said, the main point of this post is to encourage you to take advantage of being young and get into the mix somewhere. The world is your oyster.

Alex Tonelli

Alex Tonelli is the Founder and CEO of Vocate. After stumbling through many of the challenges expressed here, he’s founded three successful companies and is an active investor.